Michigan’s capital experienced quite an historic day. An estimated 10,000 protestors gathered to voice their opinion on the right-to-work legislation. Although the vast majority of the day was very peaceful, a few protestors weren’t so lucky. They were on the receiving end of a can of pepper spray.
Protestors who were standing next to one area of the capitol were stunned when a large group of police dressed in riot gear, and on horseback, used pepper spray to subdue someone who attempted to pull an officer into the crowd.
Here’s the video:
On this video shot by the ACLU of Michigan, the use of the pepper spray becomes quite apparent at the 14 second mark. While written accounts infer that only the person who was pulling the officer was sprayed, the video clearly shows that the spray being dispersed over the crowd, increasing the reach and numbers of those affected. One of those affected was former Congressman Mark Schauer (D-MI).
Schauer was in the crowd trying to help keep the crowd peaceful. Apparently, the police did not notice his attempts, as he was doused, along with those nearby. He describes the events in a statement made to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
“Schauer said he was part of a crowd outside the Capitol’s north wing as the Michigan House was voting on controversial right-to-work measures. Schauer said police came to move the protesters away from the building, and he tried to negotiate a line away from the Capitol that police would accept when he and “a number” of people were sprayed.”
Elsewhere in the area, two people were arrested when they attempted to get inside the Romney building, which houses the offices of the Governor. Once again, police pushed the crowd back by using their pepper spray. The protestors were pushed back, but one man was accidentally pushed down during the incident. He was not hurt, and others around him helped him back to his feet.
One other location nearer the capitol building, protestors took down a white tent that housed the Americans For Prosperity. The group is partially funded by the Koch brothers, which surely added to the furor over their being there. No one was harmed in the incident, and no arrests were made.